|RE: Conflict Resolution: 10 ideas||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (RobsanExchange.MICROSOFT.com)|
|Date: Tue, 28 May 1996 12:38:46 -0500|
Here are some notions I have about conflict resolution within community, based on a few mediations with groups and my own observations from my own community endeavors. My overall first and foremost advice is to find a good family counselor in your area and PAY for a whole group conflict mediation training session or two. 1. Often the first question I ask as a meditator is Why. Why is this person upset, why are they exhibiting this behavior?, why do they feel as they do? Often this goes way beyond the current conflict. Many times the current issue is only the carrier for something else. Getting to the something else is often very difficult, but offers the greatest reward. One way to delve into this is to use special, non-business sharing meetings where members are incouraged to philosophize and share insites, feelings and histories. For example a member of our group had a huge attachment to circluar drives, even though they take up huge amounts of space. It turned out that as a child her best friend was killed by being backed over by her fathers truck. Until we knew that, we did not understand where she was coming from. With that understanding we created a solution. It was not until someone asked her why she felt so strongly about this that SHE even understood her feelings. It took her a week to figure it out. 2. Write down the behaviors that are causing problems than make a contract to fix them. When I mediate in a group I prefer to remain in the background for awhile just making observations. It can often be very instructive for one or two members to be the vibes recorders - write down peoples behaviors as if you were watching animals in some sort of scientific study - Male A, spoke loudly, waved hands, face got red. Male B. and Female A made intimatidated facial expressions..... Once you identify the behavior patterns, then give them labels and make a contract with yourselves that every time those behaviors are exhibited they are called. If a problem behavior is shouting, you could label that voice volume, and then call it when it happens. - "Martha -voice volume" is all you need to say. Martha will get the clue and reduce her volume. 3. Depersonalize group conflicts by taking away ownership from individuals. If two or more individuals are in conflict, then take the issue in conflict away from them and give it to the whole group to resolve. For example, if Mary and Tina are in conflict over Mary's childrens behavior at Tina's house, then have the whole group, or a subgroup find out, 1) exactly what the problem is/was and 2), brainstorm up at least 5 to 8 ideas to resolve it. By giving ownership of a conflict to a larger group it can take the pressure off the individuals. It also gets a lot more brains involved in the solution. If your conflict resolution expectation is that individuals are responsible for resolving their own conflicts, then don't expect much unless your group is made up of very exceptional communicators, like, everyone is a family counslor. Most people do not have the skills to resolve their own conflicts very well, and often are way too involved to even see the obvious, much less the subtle. 4. Have every group member define their hot buttons. Hot buttons are issues or topics which evoke an immeadiate,gut level emotional response. Then share these, heck, publish these on a sheet and give it to everybody. Then have individuals take ownership of these should they come up. For example, if a hot button for someone is racism, then during discussions about diversity that person should identify that to the group, become aware of it themselves, to help them work at calming themselves. Note- never expect people to change their hot buttons, they come from core value systems and usually are pretty unchangable. The best you can do is to become aware of them, and then mitigate the behaviors which can come from them. 5. The power of thinking. If you find yourself in the midst of a hotly debated issue, where peoples feelings are pouring out like lava out of a volcano, take a silence break. Stop the meeting, spend 5-10-15 minutes in the circle, quietly thinking. No talking allowed. This is very effective at settling people down. The faciliator gives the group a question or two to think about. For example, during thinking time ask yourself what do I feel about this issue and where did that feeling come from. You can also ask other thinking questions such as, are my feelings about this so strong that I am not hearing what others say? Am I operating with the best for the whole group as my goal? Why do others think differently about this than I do. When thinking time is over its a great opportunity for the facilitator to move the group into someother frame work such as small groups, focus brainstorm, or into a sharing circle. 6. Be sure to tap the people who don't care either way, they are often the best solution providers. When a group is divided into factions over an issue, there are often folks at the edges, who really don't care if the walkway is gravel or asphalt. The folks who do not have a position are often very good at seeing things that those locked into a postion do not. 7. Try it out. If a particular issue lends itself to being changed later, then try out a solution for a period of time. This will give you some experience, so when you bring it up later you will have seen what works and what doesn't. Then try another solution for awhile. Sometimes the fourth or fifth solution, blends the working elements of all the previous ones, and is the one that you end up with, but never could have found because you had no experience. 8. If you are stuck in either/ or thinking then throw away the two solutions and find the third, fourth and fifth way. If the choice comes down to blue or green and you can't agree, then throw out blue and green and see what else comes up. This sometimes shows you that there are more solutions than you think, or sometimes that the difference between the two are more obvious than you thought. Until you get perspective, see more choices, it can be hard to evaluate the difference by only having two choices. 9. Know yourself. You need to learn how you make decisions, how you react to people with different opinions than yourself, how you express yourself, what kinds of things make you uncomfortable, how confident you are in a group, are you a leader, are you waiting for instructions, etc. etc. Every time you are in a meeting, a group situation, a conflict, it provides a great opportunity for you to learn about yourself. The more of that you can identify clearly and share with each other, the less conflicts you will have. You can create a survey of questions, then share the answers in an informal sharing gathering. 10. Be ready to surrender. If you are in a conflict, evaluate your goals and intentions. Is this issue really worth it? If I give in what will happen in a year? What is going to happen to my relationship with this person if this conflict continues? Rob Sandelins tip of the day \\\|/// (.)(.) o00(_)00o "Wisdom comes from knowing who you really are." Original Message----- Sent: Saturday, May 25, 1996 12:14 PM Subject: Conflict Resolution Hello again from Charlottesville Cohousing... We are developing our conflict resolution procedures, and are wondering what procedures cohousing groups follow when a member refuses to resolve a conflict. What type of action is taken by your group? Mable Kinzie Charlottesville Cohousing http://avenue.gen.va.us/go/Cohousing
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